PDA

View Full Version : Q. about SF w/ Romance and Romantic SF



Chapman208
August 16th, 2007, 04:04 PM
I typically write straight science fiction. That is, SF with little or no romance. But recently I wrote a novel that involved a lot of romance. Nothing steamy, but the two main characters (M/F) are caught up in an adventure together, and end up falling in love, getting married, living HEA.

I certainly didn't plan to write a romance, but now I wonder how to determine whther this is a typical SF novel, with some romance thrown in or a Romantic SF novel (or whatever that subset of Romance is called). In other words, where is the line drawn?

I would have to say that the primary emphasis is SF over Romance, but that Romance is a significant part of the story.

Should I stick to SF, or try to market it as both SF and Romantic SF (or whatever the correct term is)? I wouldn't want to market it as a Sci-Fi/Romance and have people complain that there isn't enough romance to qualify. (On a "heat" rating, with 10 being scorching, this would probably rate a 1--kissing, falling into bed, fade to black; but definitely a love story.)

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

Mark.

orangeengr85
August 18th, 2007, 08:15 PM
thoughts from a reader (not a writer, publisher or a marketing person):

from what you have said, i would say to market it primarily as sff. i have read plenty of books in both genres and given what you have said about the 'heat' rating and the strong sff themes...it fits more with what i've read from the sff section. i've read a lot of sff that has a 'love story' in it. For example most anything by Anne McCaffery or Mercedes Lackey. I personally prefer a love story in my sff.

well, there are my two cents; hope that helps. i'm curious to see what others have to say.

Chapman208
August 18th, 2007, 10:35 PM
Amanda: Thanks for your comments. That's how I see the story as well, SF with a love story. But as I understand the Romance genre, it ranges from cool to scorching. So I'm wondering how my book would differ from something classified as SF Romance? Is it whether the emphasis is on the SF aspects of the story over the love story or vice versa, how many love/sex scenes there are, or how hot they are?

I'm inclined to market it as purely SF, but I'd hate to miss out on the SF Romance market, if it's appropriate for that. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to market it as SF Romance and disappoint the readers.

I suppose I could just let the publisher decide, but I'm curious.

Thanks again.

Mark.

David Boultbee
August 19th, 2007, 06:38 AM
Mark

I assume you are referring to Sunrise Destiny. I think that this would primarily be in the SF genre but could be marketed as SF Romance only if the Romance angle played a major factor, which I don't think it does, from what I recall. My novel, The Gender Divide, also has a love story woven through it and a couple of decent 'romantic interludes', but I wouldn't classify it as SF Romance either.

When I think of SF Romance I think of Catherine Asaro's Skolian series. It's almost as if she's written Romance with an SF angle. Since then she's become a little more SF oriented but IMO the romance angle remains the primary storyline.

Of course I could be wrong. I think that The Gender Divide will appeal to both men and women regardless but classifying it as SF Romance could help my sales to women and - possibly - hurt my sales to men (ducks many objects being thrown at him).

For another take on this issue, see the I'm Diggin' Question of the Week. I'm sure there will be some interesting posts this week. LOL.

BTW for those of you who haven't see the post in the forum on the link on the contest page, I am giving away copies of The Gender Divide. Visit Promotional Space, the contest link on the home page of CTR or the website for more info.

orangeengr85
August 19th, 2007, 11:22 AM
As a reader of both genres, I always check both sections.

David mentioned Catherine Asaro as an exellent example of what I would consider a SF romance...and it's even sold in the SF section from what I recall. You really don't see very many SF romance novels. If it has SF elements, usually the love story is not the driving force. A romance is, first and foremost, a love story. Secondary is the variation in characters, settings, and secondary plots. The character and relationship development, 99.7% of the time, has to be the driving force of the plot.

There are, traditionally, a few better known sub-genres in the romance section (by which I mean that they are printed on the spine of the book): Erotica, Historical, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense and Paranormal. If you want another good idea about sub-genres, go look at the romance section of Amazon.com. There is not a Sci-Fi sub-genre per se (and they have a fair amount of sub-genres). Look at each sub-genre and think about where you would put your book. If none of them fit, maybe that's a clue. :D

It also depends some on the publisher. Most publisher's specialize in one genre or the other, but maybe that's just with the bigger publishers. I'm always surprised to see a book published by Luna in the SF section. It makes me think they shelved it wrong because they are always what I would consider romance with some fantasy elements.

I would, again, tend to agree with David that you would probably alienate the male readers more than you would increase the female readers. Most men would not be caught dead on the Romance aisle, but women don't have a problem checking out the SF section...or at least I don't, :p.

Again these are just my takes on the subject as a reader of SFF since the 7th grade and romance since the 10th grade.

Chapman208
August 19th, 2007, 04:04 PM
Mark
I assume you are referring to Sunrise Destiny. I think that this would primarily be in the SF genre but could be marketed as SF Romance only if the Romance angle played a major factor, which I don't think it does, from what I recall.

David: I'd say the romance plays a major role, but not a predominant role. It's still primarily SF, but the story wouldn't be the same without the romance component. It's not like Star TreK (TOS) or James Bond, with a dalliance here and there. It's a true romance/love story, with Sunrise and Lola starting out as john and hooker, progressing to co-conspirators on the run together, then on to being lovers, and eventually getting married and having a child. Granted most of the story takes place on another planet, but the romance is an integral part of the story. (I'd say 60/40 for the SF/Romance ratio.)

I'm not looking to market it as straight SF vs. Romance SF. I'm wondering whether it ought to be marketed as both. (That is, market it as SF to SF audiences and as Romance SF to romance audiences.)

But I don't want to overreach and call it romance if it isn't really.

My editor started out in Romance, and I know another SF author (Rick Taubold) who is very familiar with the romance market. So I guess I'll ask them what they think.

Thanks for your feedback!

Mark.

Chapman208
August 19th, 2007, 04:39 PM
As a reader of both genres, I always check both sections.

A romance is, first and foremost, a love story. Secondary is the variation in characters, settings, and secondary plots. The character and relationship development, 99.7% of the time, has to be the driving force of the plot.

I would, again, tend to agree with David that you would probably alienate the male readers more than you would increase the female readers. Most men would not be caught dead on the Romance aisle, but women don't have a problem checking out the SF section...or at least I don't, :p.

Amanda: That's more or less what I thought about the romance angle. Sunrise Destiny isn't a romance novel with some SF thrown in, it's primarily SF with a fair amount of romance.

It wasn't an either/or decision I was looking for, but whether I should <i>also</i> market the book as Romance SF. It sounds like you're saying no.

Mark.

orangeengr85
August 19th, 2007, 11:01 PM
yeah, i guess i am saying no :lol:

Chapman208
August 20th, 2007, 10:25 AM
Thanks, Amanda. :notworthy:

David Boultbee
August 23rd, 2007, 09:52 AM
David: I'd say the romance plays a major role, but not a predominant role. It's still primarily SF, but the story wouldn't be the same without the romance component. It's not like Star TreK (TOS) or James Bond, with a dalliance here and there. It's a true romance/love story, with Sunrise and Lola starting out as john and hooker, progressing to co-conspirators on the run together, then on to being lovers, and eventually getting married and having a child. Granted most of the story takes place on another planet, but the romance is an integral part of the story. (I'd say 60/40 for the SF/Romance ratio.)

I'm not looking to market it as straight SF vs. Romance SF. I'm wondering whether it ought to be marketed as both. (That is, market it as SF to SF audiences and as Romance SF to romance audiences.)

But I don't want to overreach and call it romance if it isn't really.

My editor started out in Romance, and I know another SF author (Rick Taubold) who is very familiar with the romance market. So I guess I'll ask them what they think.

Thanks for your feedback!

Mark.

Mark

I think I only read the first 10 or so chapters of Sunrise Destiny. I can't remember about the marriage but I definitely would have remembered a child. LOL.

Anyway, I'd rely on Patty for the final call but it's good to ask these questions. I know that the relationship in The Gender Divide is a strong point and should appeal to women but I don't know about marketing it that way.

BTW spread the word. I just received the 2nd edits from my editor so The Gender Divide is inching close to publication. The contest for a free copy ends when the book goes on sale so get your entries in before it's too late!

Chapman208
August 23rd, 2007, 10:36 AM
David: The marriage and the baby come late in the story (the baby in the epilogue). By Ch. 10, their relationship is still in the early stages. It gets more serious starting with Ch. 12.

Mark.